Lost in the bustle of the Jai Lucas story was the still-slow progress on the status of freshman forward/center Eloy Vargas, who remains in limbo since recovering from offseason ankle surgery last June. Here were some of Billy Donovan’s comments regarding Eloy’s status on Wednesday:
“He’s doing better but he’s still behind. I think the biggest thing with Eloy right now is getting him to a point where we feel like he can be a productive player and help us. We have to wait and see. Healing is not the right word. I think he’s missed so much of strength of conditioning, he’s missed so much of weight training, he’s missed so much individual instruction time that throwing him in there he’s not able to compete at the level we need him to. We’ve got to get him to the level where he’s confident in his body that he can run and play and defend and rebound and do the things on a consistent basis. It’s very clear in practice with him when he’s in there for a period of time because of his conditioning and because of his lack of strength it’s a viscous cycle for him. He’s getting so physically broken down that we’re not getting him better. The first thing we have to do is get a base and foundation for him before he can start going through regular practices. And that foundation is just not there right now.”
I followed up asking if Billy D would consider having Vargas apply for a medical redshirt because of his ankle situation?
“I don’t know if you’re going to be able to medical redshirt or not with him but I think it’s something that I think you don’t want to waste this year. You don’t want to throw a guy out there and have him play a minute or two or not play at all and it’s a wasted year. So I think with the way the rules are set up as a coach you’re always somewhat conscientious of saying OK is this guy going to really play. We want to get it to a point where we’re hoping he can play and we want to play. But if it gets to the point where he’s not progressing the way we think necessary than it’s something I think you have to look at. Right now, it hasn’t even crossed my mind because the one thing I want to see is him get healthy and get his health to a foundation where he can go out there and compete. Then when he gets that foundation, then I think we can make more of an educated decision where he’s at.”